Despite his best efforts at the start of the season, Jose Mourinho hasn’t been able to fit Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney into his starting eleven.
The forward can’t start up-top because thirty-five year old Zlatan Ibrahimovic offers more as a lone striker and the Swede has been in sensational form since signing in the summer. Rooney then has two young hitmen in Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial as Zlatan’s natural replacements.
The England captain doesn’t offer enough to play on the wings and doesn’t seem disciplined enough to play as a central midfielder.
As an outsider looking in, Rooney’s best position could now be as a number ten. Jose seems to prefer playing a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1.
When it’s a 4-2-3-1 then Rooney has a chance on playing but he also knows that he’s up against Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. At the moment these are players that seem to offer more. Plus Man Utd’s number ten seems to get in the way of Paul Pogba when the two play in the same side.
Summer transfer talk has already started, suggesting Man Utd want to bring Antoine Griezmann to Old Trafford in the summer. That would be another huge deal and another forward that keeps Wayne out of the starting line-up.
At thirty-one, Wayne Rooney will believe that he needs to play. He currently gets around £250k a week, so the club’s hierarchy will want to see him playing, if he’s not up to the task then they’ll want to ship him out.
Rooney’s important equaliser against Stoke City in January saw him overtake Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time leading goalscoring record for United. That goal was hugely significant for the striker as it accomplished a great achievement. But after all the celebration and relief, you’ve got to believe that Wayne and his advisors must have thought ‘what now?‘
Is there really anything he needs to now at Man United?
That’s the multi-million pound question.
Reports today state that his agent has arrived in China to look at the possibility of his client joining a Chinese Super League club.
The move will earn Rooney an absolute fortune. Only in China could he actually top his current wage at United.
Be in no doubt, Chinese clubs will be falling over themselves to get Wayne Rooney. He’s the current England captain, he is Man United’s all-time top goalscorer and he’s also England’s leading scorer too.
The Chinese market want a world known footballer to boost their image and Rooney will do that. The Chinese fans also believe that the Premier League is the best in the world and the England hitman has been one of it’s biggest stars for over a decade now.
I doubt Man United would stand in his way if he wanted to make the move. To get around £30m for an ageing player who is currently out of the team and earning £250k a week is a football accountant’s dream!
It might allow England manager Gareth Southgate the best opportunity to phase his captain out of the squad too.
So if Rooney is serious about a move to the far east then it could still happen this month. He’d have to assess whether or not he could adapt to the culture and lifestyle that China would bring.
But what better way to depart the Red Devils, he could lift the League Cup as the club captain on his final day and then jet off for Beijing and start a new adventure there.